When you look at the September 7th edition of the MVP Power Rankings on the official MLS website, Cucho Hernandez is listed among those also receiving votes with a paltry two points. That means he was named on just one or two ballots. Considering he’s added three goals and an assist to his totals since that poll was released, it is time to ask the question-is Cucho a serious candidate for MVP?
The scoring tear the 24-year-old Columbian has been on as of late has raised his totals to thirteen goals and eleven assists on the season. That’s good for a fifth-place tie in each category. But, if you combine those numbers, only two other players in the league have a higher total. FC Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta has fifteen goals and twelve assists, while Hany Mukhtar of Nashville has fifteen goals and ten assists. It is no surprise that those two are first and second in the poll. When the rankings are released, Cucho should get a lot more support, but I don’t think that will happen.
I believe there are two things working against Cucho right now when it comes to MVP consideration. The first is, due to a knee injury, he missed games and got off to a very slow start. He had only six goals through the Crew’s first twenty games. During that time, all eyes were on Lucas Zelarayan, not Cucho. The other thing I see not in his favor is the presence of Lionel Messi. I worked in the media for a very long time and know exactly what they’re like. Regardless of what he does, or how much he plays or doesn’t play, many won’t be able to resist including Messi on their ballot.
Stats are not the only reason he should be considered for the league’s most prestigious individual award. Since Zelarayan’s departure, Cucho has greatly raised the level of his game, is seemingly everywhere on the field, and has made the Crew his team.
I’m very interested to see where he is listed when the league releases their next set of MVP rankings. But keep this in mind: these rankings are voted on by only thirteen writers and staff members of the MLS website. Far more people will be filling out an official MVP ballot. Yes, Cucho is a serious candidate for MVP. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll get a lot of support.